Mahler, Jolivet and a dash of Pink Floyd in Illinois Symphony’s spring chamber concert

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Andrew Joon Choi makes his central Illinois debut on April 15 for the first of two upcoming engagements with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Choi typically splits his time between Princeton, New Jersey, and Zurich, Switzerland, where he runs a nonprofit aimed at lowering barriers to opera.

Saturday’s small-format chamber concert, called “Inspiring Influences,” tees up Choi’s return this May, when he’ll lead the full orchestra in its season finale.

For now, Choi teams up with a curated slice of the symphony for a triptych of works: Takashi Yoshimatsu’s “Atom Hearts Club Suite No. 2;” André Jolivet’s “Concerto for Flute and Orchestra,” with Illinois Symphony principal flute Kimberly Risinger as the soloist; and Beethoven’s “Serioso” String Quartet No. 11, arranged by Gustav Mahler.

The thing tying these works together—which represent an array of time periods, aesthetics and geographies—is their composers’ propensity for leaning into a variety of cultural and tonal influences. By extension, “Inspiring Influences” poses probative questions about imitation, appreciation and appropriation.

By Lauren Warnecke


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